A California court on Monday sentenced American Ronald Boyajian, 55, to 70 years in prison for sex crimes committed while in Cambodia, according to an announcement from the US Department of Justice (USDOJ).
Boyajian was convicted of sexual assault of a child, travelling with the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual acts and committing a felony involving a minor while being required to register as a sex offender. The latter two crimes do not exist in Cambodia.
According to the USDOJ, American law allows for prosecution of “certain sex offenses against children” that take place abroad, “even if the conduct they engaged in was legal in the country where it occurred”.
Boyajian’s lawyer, Kong Sam Onn, has argued in the past that the extradition was done “without any semblance of compliance with Cambodian law on extradition and without the Cambodian Judiciary and Justice Ministry’s knowledge let alone approval”. Sam Onn could not be reached yesterday.
According to Sam Onn, Boyajian was extradited while being prosecuted by a Cambodian court, which is illegal under Article 578 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, though US officials maintain Boyajian wasn’t extradited but expelled.
Four victims were present at the sentencing trial last week, one of whom Boyajian has been ordered to pay $40,000.
“Given the defendant’s age, this prison term amounts to a life sentence”, said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles.